New director, SAF battalion take over Bilibid
New Bureau of Corrections Director Benjamin Delos Santos vowed to eradicate drugs, crime and corruption at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa as a new battalion of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) took over the operations of the facility on Friday.
“I will just be following the mantra of the President and secretary of justice: get rid of crime, corruption and drugs,” Delos Santos, a retired PNP chief superintendent, said. “(I was instructed) to do whatever is necessary” in reforming BuCor.
He also vowed to work on the immediate implementation of Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 that will increase the salaries of BuCor personnel and modernize the facilities of the national penitentiary.
“We are doing it now. We are working on it to improve the finalization of the implementing rules and regulations,” he said.
During the turnover ceremony at the NBP, PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa told the 410 new SAF members that will supervise the security of NBP not to be corrupted by prisoners.
“I hope you will not fail me and the Filipino people. You will certainly be faced with the strongest temptations to corrupt you and make you give in to the demands of the prisoners, among them, drug lords, murderers and the most hardened of criminals,” he said.
He added, “Do not ever allow yourselves to be bribed whatever the circumstances may be. Do not allow yourselves to be involved in any illegal activity. Do not do anything to destroy the image of the PNP.”
The first group of SAF took over the operations of the NBP last July and during their stay, they confiscated 2,625 bladed and pointed weapons, 63 firearms, 27 explosives, 76 grams of shabu, 400 grams of marijuana and P3.36 million in cash, the PNP said.
Dela Rosa said the problem of illegal drug trade still exists in the NBP.
“Di pa natin masiguro na zero na talaga. But we are leaning towards that. Pawala na nang pawala pero ganun pa rin. Siguro mga old stock nila yan. But when you say may bago bang nakapasok, we can really say na mahihirapan silang magpasok,” he said. (We can’t say that we have achieved zero contraband in NBP. Some still emerge, probably some are old stock but if you will ask if new goods have been smuggled in, they are finding it very difficult to do that now.)
Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo said the SAF and BuCor were able to eradicate 95 percent of the illegal drug trade at the NBP.
“Yung iba kasi nakabaon,” he said. (Some are buried.)
He said they assumed that the illegal drug transactions by NBP prisoners have been stopped because of the cell phone signal jammers that were installed at the NBP maximum security compound including Building 14, which houses high-profile inmates.